There are alot of racers in the world today. However, real racers will find a way to race at any cost. Steve Irwin from Lapeer, Michigan is one of those racers. After a rocky 2002 racing season, Irwin was not sure if he would ever be in the seat...
There are alot of racers in the world today. However, real racers will find a way to race at any cost. Steve Irwin from Lapeer, Michigan is one of those racers. After a rocky 2002 racing season, Irwin was not sure if he would ever be in the seat of a sprint car again. "I just do not have the money." Stated Irwin after a limited 2002 schedule. "We have always been a low budget team, but my Dad and I usually find a way to race." Irwin started the night in a car that arrived at the track without knowing what would happen. Irwin was putting the finishing touches on the car while other teams were arriving at the race track. Finally, just before the drivers meeting was to began, Irwin pulled into the pit area with what seems to be the Irwin family trademark, the open trailer.
When the car was unloaded, Irwin began to get ready to try to fire the car for the first time. However, the motor would not turn over, and nearly caused a premature end to the night as the push truck spun the flying zero sideways. "We put a motor together with what we had. We did not have the time, or the money to balance the motor like we should. Now the counter weight on the crankshaft flange is hitting the motorplate." Said Irwin just before hotlaps. So the team he assembled earlier that day, began to try to fix the problem. As the cars were being called to the push lane for hot laps, Irwin pushed to the rear of the line, hoping for the best. The best was what he would get. Irwin, in his first outing of the 2003 racing season, led all 25 laps, holding off a hard charging Dain Naida for the victory. "What is it they all ask after a win?" Joked Irwin. "You just won a Sprints On Dirt feature, now what are you going to do? Well, I get to go back to work on Monday and lay more carpet so I can pay some bills!"
Irwin started the 25 lap affair with Bill Johnson alongside. At the drop of the green, Irwin quickly jumped out the early lead. Johnson would drop back early as he was stuck on the high side of the race track. Gregg Dalman followed Irwin around the bottom and kept the leader within his sights. Jim Wohlfeil would also pass Johnson on the lowside on the opening circuit. The car on the move early, sixth starting Dain Naida would take over the fourth position from Johnson on lap two, and one lap later pass Wohlfeil for the third position. As the front three began to pull away from the rest of the field, battles were shaping up for nearly every position on the 1/4 mile bullring. Then on the 8th lap, Naida took advantage of a mistake by Dalman, and made the pass for second coming out if turn four. As the duo raced into turn one, Dalman slipped up, making contact with Naida, pushing Naida off the track, costing Naida several positions. Just as the leader entered lapped traffic, Naida would settle in behind Wohlfeil in the fourth position.
Up front, Irwin stretched his advantage over Dalman as the duo worked lapped traffic. On lap 12, Naida would get past Wohlfeil, and once again begin a battle with Dalman. Lap 14, Naida would make the pass and move back into second, this time putting distance between him and Dalman. Irwin, who had built up a lead while Naida and Dalman battled for second, was deep into traffic with nearly a 1/2 lap lead. On lap 15, the only caution of the night came out for a spun Jon Nichoson in turn four after some contact with Davey Brown.
The caution would bunch the field back up, but Irwin had two lapped cars as a buffer over Naida. Naida quickly disposed of one lapped car, and then the second car one lap later, and began the chase after Irwin. On lap 20, the duo entered lap traffic, with Naida closing in on the back bumper of Irwin. Two laps later, Naida would try the high side around Irwin, but there was not enough to hold on to and Naida would lose ground to the leader and letting a couple lapped cars back by. At the finish, Irwin took the win with Naida second. Dalman, Ronnie Beale, and Mike Galajda would round out the top five. Wohlfeil, Dustin Daggett, Troy Chehowski, Johnson, and Mark Irwin completed the top ten.
Tom Fedorczyk, Dalman, and Naida took the heat race wins. Chehowski took the Sprint On Dirt Hard Charger award by passing six cars to his eighth place finish. Up next for the SOD sprinters is the Mid-Season Championship sponsored by Michigan Engine Pro. Friday, July 18 at Ionia Raceway Park, $1500 to win. Then Saturday, July 19 at Crystal Motor Speedway for a $1200 to win, $225 to start 40 lap affair. For more information, log on to the official SOD web site at http://www.sprintsondirt.com
B&B Oval Track Supply Heat Race, 8 laps: (1:58.295) 1) 61 Tom Fedorczyk 2) 3b Ronnie Beale 3) 0 Steve Irwin 4) 85 Dustin Daggett 5) 81 John Gall 6) 13 Davey Brown 7) 52 Mark Broughman
Kear's Speed Shop Heat Race: (1:59.602) 1) 49t Gregg Dalman 2) 2w Jerry Whitney 3) 33 Bill Johnson 4) 2m Jim McCarron 5) 21t Troy Chehowski 6) 62 Jon Nichoson 7) 2t Ralph Brackenberry
Goodyear Racing Tire Heat Race: (1:57.725) 1) 54 Dain Naida 2) 18 Mark Irwin 3) 2x Mike Galajda 4) 3w Jim Wohlfeil 5) 9 Gary Hayward 6) p46 Frank Taylor 7) Dan Phillips (dns)
Sprints On Dirt A-Main, 25 Laps: (No Time) 1) S. Irwin 2) Naida 3) Dalman 4) Beale 5) Galajda 6) Wohlfeil 7) Daggett 8) Chehowski 9) Johnson 10) M. Irwin 11) Fedorczyk 12) Brown 13) Whitney 14) McCarron 15) Nichoson 16) Gall 17) Hayward 18) Taylor 19) Broughman 20) Brackenberry
Lap Leaders: Steve Irwin 1-30
B&B Oval Track Supply Award Winner: Frank Taylor
Kear's Speed Shop Hard Luck Award: Bill Johnson
Rose City Motors Front Row Challenge Winner: ($750) Not Accepted
Frankland Racing Supply Award: Mark Broughman
High Vista Video Hard Charger: Troy Chehowski +6
All Pro Cylinder Heads Rookie of the Race: Jim McCarron